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2K Sports aims to make hockey video games more accessible, reclaim lost fans with NHL 2K9 edition

Fears of a shrinking audience for NHL hockey resonate in more places than league and team boardrooms.

Video game manufacturers also have a vested interested in the game prospering.

And in recent years, 2K Sports hasn't liked what it has seen. But in a bid to win back gamers - and gain an edge on rival Electronic Arts - the company has revamped its NHL 2K9 game this year.

Feeling last year's version was simply too complicated, 2K Sports is offering a simpler entry into its hockey title, promising gamers can pick up a controller and play from the get-go with virtually no learning curve. There are deeper playing options with plenty of complexity, but the goal was to make the title simple and fun out of the box.

"NHL for us was kind of a bit of a calculated risk, doing something different this year," said Jeff Thomas, vice-president of sports development for 2K Sports. "What we've been seeing over the last few years is that the hockey video game market has continued to shrink.

Adding to the 2K Sports unease perhaps is the fact that EA had a good year development-wise with its NHL 08, made in Burnaby, B.C., while 2K8 did not fare so well.

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FCOLitsjustagame3263d ago

Sorry for 2K but this Hockey fan finally went back to Hockey on next gen but I went for NHL09. Its plenty simple and has lots of great options, I am loven Be a Pro.

As for the Boardrooms of the League, if they want fans back they need to expand their TV offering. We don't even get Versus in my area....get back on ESPN and I will watch you every Wed night (and every other time your on)just like I used to. Now I have to wait for NBC games which only show up at the end of the season and the occassional HDTV broadcast. I miss the NHL.....